Published: April 20, 2017
You can get your skydiving certification in as few as 8 training jumps and 17 consolidation jumps. Each training jump is designed to equip you with the skills you need to be a successful skydiver and to fly your own body, operate all of the equipment and deal with any possible situation that might occur.
The aim is to get your skydiving 'A' license, which qualifies you to jump solo and without supervision, and to learn new skills as you progress.
Here, we'll explain the system we use to help you get your skydiving certification.
TDS stands for Tandem Direct Supervision, and is the name for the system we use to teach people to skydive.
TDS is so called because the whole process starts with two tandem skydives. During these jumps, you will be the tandem student - meaning the equipment is all fully managed by your tandem skydiving instructor.
This means that all you need to do is focus on maintaining the correct body position and getting used to the feeling of freefall.
If you've never jumped before, the first few skydives can feel like a bit of a blur. Your senses are overloaded with all the new information, and it can be difficult to focus - which isn't the ideal situation if you're having to remember how to operate your own parachute!
The first two tandem jumps of TDS give you the chance to get used to skydiving and to reduce that sensory overload, which prepares you much better, in our experience, for subsequent jumps than other systems which have you jumping with your own equipment from jump one.
The next six jumps in the TDS system are solo jumps, where you wear and operate your own equipment and jump with your instructor who will be watching you closely and giving you tips and in air coaching. This phase is therefore preceded by a classroom training session of 6-8 hours, where you'll learn everything you need to know about flying your body and operating your equipment - plus what to do if something doesn't go to plan.
The final phase of TDS is to consolidate all you've learned through 17 solo jumps, during which you will hire a coach to give you the skills you need to attain your A license. You will also learn to pack your own parachute during this phase.
Becoming a certified skydiver opens up a wide array of opportunities within one of the world's most exciting sports.
With your skydiving certification achieved, you'll be able to start focusing on one of the many disciplines of skydiving, building your skills and having a lot of fun in the process! One of the most common disciplines chosen by new skydivers is formation skydiving, where you learn to jump with other people safely and to make formations by holding onto one another's arms and legs during freefall. This is a great social discipline and can be done at any USPA member skydiving center, as long as you have your USPA (United States Parachute Association) license.
You can also use your skydiving certification to jump overseas, either with the license you have, or by converting it to the local license type. This will depend on the specific skydiving center you're visiting, so be sure to check in advance.
As well as the practical applications of your skydiving certificate, you also have the mental benefits too. By working toward the certification and then achieving it, you'll get a great sense of pride in a job well done. You'll also build up the knowledge and skills you need to be fully responsible for yourself and your equipment, which is very empowering.
Finally, there's the whole community aspect. By obtaining your skydiving certificate, you'll be part of the global skydiving community of awesome people who love doing awesome things. It's a hugely sociable sport and something you'll love once you're part of it.
What is the cost of becoming certified?
The cost of becoming a certified skydiver will depend on the skydiving center you choose and the system they use. Here at The Skydiving Company, we use the TDS system, meaning you will make a minimum of 25 jumps before achieving your certification.
We were very impressed with the professionalism of the staff. Everyone was super-fun and we had an absolute blast!